IMac – Files have disappeared overnight – where are they


Yesterday I filmed an interview and copy/pasted the files from my SD card onto my iMac, then imported the files into Premiere Pro to view the footage. Everything looked good, so I ejected the card and formatted it for another shoot. The files and Premiere Pro project were fine. I imported my next project, no problem.

However today when I opened the first project to begin my edit, I found that all of my files and the folder they were saved in had disappeared:

/users/adam/documents/DSS/Amanda/Amanda Video/Rushes

The "Rushes" folder and its content no longer exits, and was instead left with an empty "untitled folder".

I've searched finder, trash, everywhere for the "Rushes" folder and "MVI_0538.MOV" onward (up to 0570).

If it weren't for the Premiere Pro file path it seems that there would be no evidence of the files ever existing – is there any way of recovering them or finding any trace of them? Perhaps by using the terminal?


Best Answer

Assuming the files are actually gone there are two potential solutions I can think of, neither of which necessarily rely on Terminal (which will allow you to see invisible files, but not deleted files). The first of which requires that you are using Time Machine. If Time Machine was connected to your backup drive yesterday after you imported your files, it would create a new backup every hour including any files that were new to the system since the previous backup. Simply open Time Machine, navigate to the folder where your files were previously, and go back to a time when they were still there. Highlight the file(s) and click the Recover button.

The second solution requires third party software. When files are "deleted" they are usually only removed from the "catalog" or "index" of the file system. This means according to the index the space where file X used to take up is now empty and available to be overwritten at any point in the future when it needs to save new files. Data recovery software simply ignores this index and scans the actual blocks of space on the drive to see if there is any data there. I don't endorse any data recovery software in particular however, as its been years since I've used any. Searching the web will find various titles, both commercial and open source, and you'll likely need an external HDD to recover found files onto. Best of luck.